The Business of Life Science: Financing Innovation

This course begins with the science of medical discovery and development; providing an introduction to the priorities, milestones, and terminology of the FDA, patent office, tech transfer, drug companies, and investors. It covers the fundamentals such as trial design, indications, ADME, tox, delivery, efficacy, safety, etc. We then give a crash course on how that science ties into business models, metrics, financing options, and incentives. Giving an introduction to angels and VCs, i-banks and IPOs, lawyers and investment managers (including conversation on career options for PhDs in these areas).

As a case study we will look at the life of Epogen, the $100 billion drug discovered here at UChicago. From university to startup to “Big Bio”, ramping sales and doctor incentives that led to over-subscription and safety concerns, which in turn led to regulatory intervention and an FDA black box warning. The following decline of EPO left a medical and market need which led to Fairbank co-founding Akebia; he’ll provide an inside view of that story, hitting on both the successes and the mistakes.

The class will conclude with a session by a partner at GE Ventures covering similar topics around non-drug medical products.

Mini-Course Coordinator

JP Fairbank, Booth School of Business, Partner at Orchard Venture Partners

Mr. Fairbank leads the investment and finance team at Orchard. He is the cofounder of several healthcare and medical companies, including Akebia Therapeutics (NASDAQ: AKBA) where he played a key role in all aspects from writing the business plan and hiring management to negotiating the acquisition of the assets from Proctor & Gamble. He also founded Nymirum, where he built and implemented a non-dilutive business and financing model to enable the development of a novel drug discovery technology. Prior to working in venture capital, Fairbank spent a decade in investment banking and asset management. JP received his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

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